FED CUP FINAL 2016
Czech Republic travelled to Strasbourg to face France in the final. The Czech team, two-time defending champs, were considered the favourites, however, on paper the encounter was promising nothing less then a big battle. With head to head 3-3 and strong players in both teams picking a winner was not an easy task. We, the fans, wanted a great weekend of tennis and got exactly that
First match on Saturday between Karolina Pliskova and Krisitina Mladenovic turned out to be a 3:48 thriller with the 2 hour 24-minute final set - the longest set—singles or doubles—in Fed Cup final history. Pliskova defeated Mladenovic, 6-3, 4-6, 16-14. Pliskova said in an on-court interview. ”I feel fresh actually. It's my longest match I played ever. I'm really happy with the way it ended.”
Caroline Garcia and Petra Kvitova met for the second match of the day. Petra, the heavy favourite vs. Caroline, the underdog ranked 12 positions lower than her opponent. The Czech team was looking to end the day with a strong 2-0 lead but the French had other plans. Garcia came out strong, composed and more solid than Kvitova who kept on double-faulting and making too many unforced errors. Garcia’s clean match with 20 winners to 12 unforced errors lead to a French victory 7:6(6) 6:3 and levelled the contest at 1-1.
On Sunday one minute applause for the 130 victims killed in Paris last year was followed by yet another solid performance from Garcia who defeated Pliskova in 3 sets 6-3 3-6 6-3. Things couldn't look better for the French team who lead Czech Republic 2-1.
Due to Petra Kvitova’s right foot injury her match against Kiki Mladenovic was replaced with an encounter between Alize Cornet and Barbora Strycova. To the delight of the Czech team and all their fans, Strycova became the hero of the day. She defeated Cornet in 2 sets 6:2 7:6(4) to level the contest at 2:2.
The fate of the final was to be decided in the last match of the day - in the doubles rubber between Garcia/Mladenovic and Pliskova/Strycova. The French put up a good fight but it was the Czech team who came out victorious in the end. They won in two tight sets - 7:5 7:5 with Strycova serving for the win. Her heroic performancie against Cornet and again with Pliskova in doubles led Czech Republic to a 3-2 comeback win over the host nation France. Strycova told the press, "The secret was to go out there and fight for every point. We fought until the end.”
The Czech team completed a three-peat and have now won the Fed Cup five times in the last six years. Impressive!